Light Reading

DoCoMo to Offer NFV-Based LTE in 2016

Dan Jones

NTT DoCoMo -- the operator typically ahead of the pack when it comes to cutting-edge mobile -- says that it plans to start offering virtualized 4G services by March 2016.

The Japanese operator says that it has now completed proof-of-concept trials verifying the feasibility of mobile NFV with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701). NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) has been working with the vendors on the NFV tests since November 2013. (See NTT DoCoMo, NEC Test Virtual EPC.)

"Following the successful ... trials, DOCOMO now aims to commercially deploy services utilizing a virtualized mobile network by the fiscal year ending in March 2016," NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) said in a statement. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

For 4G LTE mobile networks, virtualization initially means moving the specialist hardware functions of the packet core network to run on software and servers, via the virtual evolved packet core (vEPC). Typically, this should allow the operator to more easily scale to handle user traffic flows and improve service delivery. (See The Rise of Virtual EPC.)

Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown wrote in a recent report that he expects a small group of "leading progressive operators" to aim for "complete virtual EPC replacement by the end of 2016." These operators, however, are the exception rather the rule, and Brown believes that a widespread move to virtual EPC is likely to happen post-2016. (See Heavy Reading: The Road to Virtual EPC.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
5/29/2014 | 12:11:30 PM
Re: Good sked for mobile NFV?
Reliance Jio - LOL!

I talked to one guy about virtualization, and the response I got was "I want to buy new PCs for all my people.  Can I reuse the old ones in my datacenter?"

User Rank: Lightning
5/29/2014 | 1:57:32 AM
Re: Good sked for mobile NFV?
I would see someone like Reliance Jio deploying it ahead of the others, as they dont have a legacy trouble. Probably they can start off with a niche customer segment, to start with !
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/28/2014 | 4:46:37 PM
Re: Good sked for mobile NFV?
I was impressed with NTT's SDN deployment when I heard about it a couple of months ago. 
User Rank: Blogger
5/28/2014 | 1:43:48 PM
Good sked for mobile NFV?
NTT DoCoMo is typically a leader when it comes to deploying new technology, would you expect them to be the first with vEPC for LTE?
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